First, a little plug for David Derrico, in particular his posts about publishing:
I was quite surprised by how orderly his writing is. He is chatty without being verbose.
Second, I decided to check in on the Amazon top 20 paid.
The first thing that struck me about the list was the total and unremitting familiarity of a lot of the titles on the list: 3 by Suzanne Collins (which is sort of interesting: 3 of the top 20 paid kindle ebooks today are published by Scholastic, and are aimed at the 10 and older crowd. Think about _that_ for a few minutes), 2 by Michael Connelly, a Baldacci, a Stieg Larsson, Tina Fey's book, _The Help_. Actually, let's think about _The Help_ for a moment. It's a top 20 paid kindle at $9.99; the mass market paperback has been released and has been gone for a while, IIRC. Wow. The first _Game of Thrones_ book is on the list. That's _half_ the top 20: not only are those all big 6 published books, they are exactly the kind of same-old same-old bestsellers that annoy people who are rah-rah about self-publishing.
The number 1 slot is held by a non-big 6 published book, but that should not reassure anyone who thinks the the ebook future holds out a lot of hope for the displacement of big publisher choices by self-published authors. The book in question is _Like Water for Elephants_, and it is published by Algonquin Books which is an imprint of Workman (yes, the Page-a-Day people who also publish Boynton).
There are some self-pubs on the list. Conspicuously, John Locke has the #4 slot with one of his .99 Donovan Creed books. Slot #18 is _Trojan Horse_ by David Lender. And I'm a little uncertain how to categorize #9, because it's published by Stonegate Ink, which isn't selfpub, but is e-pub primary, I guess I would call it.
What are the other 6? There's a religious press entry at #3, _Heaven is for Real_. Krakauer's Kindle Single is at #14. There are some less-familiar-to-me Big 6 big names, as well: Lisa Gardner at #20, Lauren Hillenbrand of Seabiscuit's _Unbroken_ at #17. _Something Borrowed_ by Emily Griffin (which appears to be something that is often considered chick-lit and people say its somehow better than that and other people disagree) at #6; there's a movie version out soon? Already? I'm not sure. Finally, Paula McLain's _The Paris Wife_, historical fiction probably aimed straight at the middle-aged woman who enjoys her book group (I am a middle-aged woman who enjoys her book group, but not because of the book selections, typically).
I do not see in the top 20 any reason to think that the Big 6 and their agency model need have any particular fear for their ability to rake it in off their bestsellers.
I'm going to take a look at the top 100 next, but will not do as detailed an analysis. As usual, the exercise was, for me, completely worth it.
ETA: Dang it. Here's the pricing analysis.
Most expensive (1) : $14.99
Cheapest (3) : .99
Most common (5) : $12.99
1 at 11.99
1 at 9.99
1 at 8.99
1 at 8.40
2 at 7.99
1 at 7.14
1 at 6.13
1 at 5.00
1 at 2.99
1 at 4.17 (Water for Elephants)